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Five Second Theology Without Meaning - Living the Church Organic, Part 2

Ever had your guts ripped out? Ever had your spin ripped from your body with such force you fall to your knees in shock, wondering what just happened? Ever had your world explode around in with such force you are left deaf from the noise and numb to the results for days? Ever had fear over take you in such a way that you had no idea where to turn, how to move or even if you should? Ever been so over whelmed by the hurts of life that no matter what you do, think or say you know the feeling will just grow and the forces surrounding you will win? Have you ever been so moved by hurt, pain and loses that all you want to do is go into a corner, curl up in a ball and just stay forever and let the world move along without you? I have, several times in my life, had those feeling. Feeling where you know everything is messed up, and you have no control over any part of the events; it is like chaos taking control of your life and it is spinning out of control. Feeling so lost, so disconnected, so alone that you cannot hear the world around. Feelings so intense you shake with fear, are blinded by hurt, misdirected by confusion, crying in anger and in such pain that you live in uncontrollable flashes of white noise and a cascade of thoughts you have no control over. Feelings so deep, so primal, so raw that there is no way to describe them, no way to control them and no way to hold them in – so you cry. You cry over little things, you cry over memories, you cry over lost possibilities, you cry over where you put your car keys. So, what do you do? Where do you turn?

Well, if you are me – a Follower of Jesus and a Pastor – the natural place to turn to is the “church” you belong to for help, love, guidance and support; but if you are also like me you soon find that none of that is found in the church. In fact, when I look back at a time in my life where I needed people to support me the most, the church was the place that helped the least; in fact the church pushed me away. When my world fell apart, the church actually moved back and became a cold and distant voyeur of my life pain. I was no longer a person to help, I was now a person to keep away from, treat politely in public settings and talk about in the “privacy” of the Bible study; my pain became a virus and I the carrier that would infect the church as a whole. I would hear people say, “I will keep you in my prayers” and I would think, “Thank you, but right now I need a hug.” People would say to me, “God will not give you more then you can carry” as I was trying to figure out where I could park my car to get sleep because I could not afford a hotel room to sleep in that night. People who say to me “Keep us in the loop” but would never ask me to come over for dinner. People, who you would think should be there for you, simply gave short one-liners as if that would “fix” the pain – or even worse, they actually believed that those one-liners were the truth of the Gospel message.

Now I have to say that not everyone does that, but 98% of the “Christians” I have been in contact with do just that. The part the hurts the most in those times, for me, was that I was the Pastor of the church, and they still acted that way. Where I would have expected them to “rally behind the leader” I actually found that they would run and tell others I has koodies. This got me thinking, not that they were bad but where they simply doing what I taught them to do? Where they simply acting out what they saw me do and say to others? In my heart I have to not point fingers at others, but instead point fingers at myself and other pastors who feed a “five second theology” into the minds of God people. You see, “they” are not to be blamed – “we” are.

Some actions on our part:
I think the first thing we need to do as Followers of Christ is realize that cute little catchy slogan and pithy little sermon titles do not make for good theology. I would say the reason we do this is because we are lazy, I would have to add that we also do this because we fear “upsetting” a few people in the church; and we do not desire to “get dirty” with the “emotional vomit” of others. Think of it this way, if a person comes to you and says, “My husband just kicked me out of the house and I have no place to live and no money to live on” and all you can say is “I will pray for you” – you need to rethink your theology, because in the reality of her world, your words are useless.

Let’s look at in this way, if a member of your community of faith comes to you and says “My husband just kicked me out of the house and I have no place to go and no money to live on” what would the “church” do? Chances are they would point the person to the battered women’s shelter and offer her some food vouchers – and if the woman never comes back again, the church would say “they helped.” But did they? I think not.

You see, for me and “the church organic” we need to start to replace “words of theology” with an “action of theology” – we need to stop “saying” and start “doing.” We need to go that extra mile and get ready to give up our comfort for the comfort of another – we need to be ready embrace, hug, love and help. For example, w need to find her a place to live with loving people with in our community of faith; people willing to help her on her journey, no matter how long it takes. But for this to happen, I believe the Pastor needs to take the lead and openly confess that the church has failed in many ways. But with God’s help we can honestly and openly take the lead in this and change our way of thinking.

2 comments:

ph0rman said...

I'm reminded of the truism that how people see you is based on what you do, not on what you say.

It seems remarkable to me that the same folks who say "I'll pray for you" would also say "Faith without works is dead" and yet not see the fundamental disconnect.

From where I sit, it doesn't matter how much scripture or theology you can quote, if it doesn't play out in your life, you may as well not bother.

Joy said...

John,

I hate that we never talked around a cup of coffee. You go beyond the surface and always draw my pain and disenchantment up to the surface...

Relational living is hard and it sucks that most of us are so bad at it. I want to be better. You have given some very tangible ideas here.

Thanks!!